As an educator of young children with special needs and having experienced Autism within my extended family, I’ve used visual supports both in the classroom and in homes with great success. Excited 2 Learn was created to share the benefit of visual supports for all children. We provide resources that reduce excess language, which can overwhelm children with Autism, while helping them learn everyday tasks. The following are a few tips to keep in mind, whether trying to teach educational concepts or establish smooth daily routines such as getting ready in the morning:
? Prevent power struggles during daily routines by emphasizing working as a team toward a single goal
? Encourage independence by breaking down tasks into manageable steps
? Provide hands-on visual displays, thereby reducing the need for extensive language that can often create confusion and frustration
? Provide a reference point to assist memory
It can be challenging for parents to incorporate the above tips—especially when paired with the potential frustration of an in-the-moment struggle. If you’re looking for one tactic to focus on, try incorporating simple visual aids in teaching/guiding, as that is a critical component to transform routine concepts and tasks into playful accomplishments. You can create your own visuals and hands-on tools by drawing pictures, making charts or taking photographs that correspond to the task at hand—the key is consistency and keeping it fun and manageable for everyone involved! If you’re looking for resources to assist you, here are a few of our charts that have been particularly helpful to families raising children with Autism:
Hippo’s Morning Routine So much to do, so little time—a common morning challenge for families! This chart helps set clear expectations for your child, providing a positive start to each day. It’s designed with natural rewards and consequences for following—or not following—a given morning routine. You could think of Hippo’s Morning Routine as a “check-list” of all the activities associated with getting ready in the morning.
I Can Calm Down! Chart On a daily basis, children experience a variety of emotions—naturally feeling frustrated, anxious or angry when things don’t go their way. This chart was designed to empower children to realize when they’re getting worked up, label the feeling, and use calming strategies. These strategies help develop life-long coping skills and emotional intelligence.
Customizable Reward Chart Assists you in focusing on your child’s socially appropriate behaviors—as opposed to unacceptable or boundary-testing actions. The Reward Chart’s visual system enables children to focus on good behavior while learning new skills, having fun and feeling proud of the choices they make.
Stop & Go Sign Teaching your child the meaning of “stop” and “go” in context is a great way to help him/her understand limits. This durable double-sided “Stop & Go Sign” visually signals whether your child is allowed to open a door or must stop/stay out.
I hope these tips serve as an effective resource for you and your family. I welcome any feedback, ideas or suggestions you may have based on your own experience and hope to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter! For more information on helpful visual aids, tips and information visit excited2learn.com.